Canadian singer, Snow, is not a man who is easily influenced by the noise. His words and actions delineate that he does what he wants to do, when he wants to do it. Interestingly, when it comes to his love affair with reggae and dancehall music, he makes it clear that Jamaicans call the shots.
In the most sanguine tone, he relayed that if Jamaicans had ever accused him of appropriating or misrepresenting dancehall music, just like that, he would have pulled the plug on his career.
“I had to get approved from Jamaica before anybody else could really like me and I understand that,” he told The Gleaner. “If Jamaicans came to me and said, ‘Yow Snow, we don’t understand you doing the music’, I’d step back and say ‘Fine’, and just listen instead. I like listening to reggae artistes better than singing anyways, so I would have stepped back, but they didn’t, they told me to do my thing.”
“Informer” is one of Canada’s most recognizable songs of the ’90s. Recorded by Toronto reggae artist Snow, the track became a No. 1 hit in the U.S., Australia, Denmark and many other countries.
It was a divisive song and drew criticism for its “incomprehensible” lyrics, but whether you loved it or hated it, Snow and his smash hit are part of our country’s musical history. It also served as a positive turning point in the artist’s life, helping him find an escape from a life of crime.
Crime itself is what first inspired “Informer,” actually. While some laughed off the song’s lyrics, Snow was actually channeling his frustrations with the criminal justice system into lyrics like: “Tective man a say, say daddy me Snow me stab someone down.” (Snow says he never stabbed anyone during this incident.)
Watch below as Snow looks back at the success of “Informer” and breaks down the real meaning behind the song.
Written by Snow, M.C. Shan, and Edmond Leary, “Informer” was the lead single from Snow’s debut album, 12 Inches of Snow, which sold over 8 million records worldwide. Not many know that the single made U.S. history in the Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling and the highest-charting reggae single ever. We spoke with the artist about his place in pop history, his exile from the U.S., and watching your own music video while you sit in jail.
GAMV: I’m sure a lot of people are saying they can’t believe that it’s 25 years.
Snow: I know. 25 years, I can’t believe it either. It’s like, okay. we got to come up with something fresh.
GAMV: Tell me about this new reworked recording. How did the idea begin to do these remixes?
Snow: It’s started from my manager, Paul. He put me on a call with Audiofreaks with Matt. So – and then they were like, “Yo, what would you even think about doing ‘Informer’ over for our 25-year anniversary?” And I was like, “I never really thought about it.” He was like, “I think it will be fresh.” And I was like, “All right, let me do the vocals.” So I just did the vocals and send it over to him and then he just started to get different – you know, different producers and stuff and then we did about 15 to 20 mixes and then we just picked out, you know, and that’s how it came. And then Radikal Records was just like, “Okay, I’ll help. I’ll put – you know, I’ll put it out.” So the team just came together and I was like, “I mean, let’s just do this and let’s have fun.” And so that’s what I did about it, just having fun and just doing it. And I was like, “Oh my god, I hope it blows up again and it’s going to do –” I don’t care about none of that stuff. I just did it. I just had fun doing it.
A documentary that follows Snow on his tour of Canada after topping the charts with his multi-platinum selling number one smash hit ‘Informer’.
Includes behind the scenes footage of Snow in Allenbury and interviews with Snow, his lawyer, the Police, MC Shan and Snow’s family and friends.
Snow appeared on episode 37 of the Dysfunctional Podcast with Paul, Denise and Biga where he talks about his teenage years growing up in Allenbury, how he met Dj Marvin Prince while fighting outside of a party and the time he spent in jail where he seen the video to ‘Informer’ for the first time.
He also talks about working on new material down in Miami with Cool & Dre, the work he does for charity and how he is planning on visiting Ireland in June for his honeymoon.
The Snow interview starts at 15:28.